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The Scotsman of Levuka

Matilda Simmons
Sunday, October 29, 2017

IF THERE'S one thing famous that Duncan Creighton can lay claim to about Levuka, it is the fact that his house played host to one of the world's best known actors — Sir Peter Ustinov.

The late Sir Peter was a Russian-English actor whose career spanned many areas of the British media in the 1930s through to the 1990s. He was a fixture on television talk shows, a filmmaker, writer, dramatist, magazine columnist, and television presenter.

He also commanded respect as a diplomat and held various posts including the president of the World Federalist Movement and the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.

His bevy of acting awards includes the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, the Emmy Awards, Golden Globes and a Grammy Award.

Mr Creighton was featured in Sir Ustinov's television show called Planet Ustinov in 1998.

"Sir Peter was carried up right to the house here," he said proudly.

Sir Peter was on an adventure around the world at the close of the millennium to see the many cultures around the world.

He was following the footsteps of the famous writer Mark Twain who had journeyed to the same places more than 100 years ago during the close of the Victorian age.

His journey was produced in the classic Following the Equator with stories from Hawaii to Fiji, Australia to New Zealand, and India to South Africa.

In Planet Ustinov, Sir Peter, reported on cultures in Fiji, Hawaii, Kiribati, New Zealand and South Africa.

It was one of the best experiences for the Levuka settler.

"This house was built with the proceeds of Germans who worked on cotton plantations in Fiji," he said.

From one side of Duncan's house, the view is of the South Seas, while the other side shows the misty mountains of Lovoni.

"I get the sea breeze from the Koro Sea and I get the hill breeze from the hills of Lovoni. It's lovely."

The mountains may also remind Creighton of the Scottish highlands.

"I suppose it's the blend of the highland and island," he once remarked.

"It's almost as if you step through a kind of time warp to the 19th century and once you're living here you become part of it."

At one corner of his massive house is a room dedicated to the preservation of old photos and heirlooms that once made up the old Levuka.

"This is one thing Levuka has that Fiji doesn't. This is a very historical place so we have to keep it alive," he said with finality.

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